The Senate just passed an $800-billion-plus stimulus bill that, according to one analysis, directs a mere $6 billion to help small businesses (which create three-quarters of the jobs in the U.S.). That’s the bad news. Here’s the worse news: the IRS will decrease the number of corporate audits it performs and instead audit more small businesses. Thanks, Washington. Don’t forget to kick the dog on your way out.
A breath of fresh air. While federal assistance for most small businesses is rapidly deflating, the new administration does appear sincere in its promise to boost alternative energy — at least investors seem to think so. The Wall Street Journal reports that startups in the renewables field are getting venture capital and credit. They’re hiring new people and expanding their operations. Some VCs are betting clean energy will be the next new thing and that wind and solar power will drive the economy with the same vigor the internet did 10 years ago.
Want crisps with that? A month ago we penned a blog about Americans’ unflagging appetite for fast food. Seventeen of the 50 most viable franchises in the U.S. — and five of the top 10 — are fast-food places. Now an outfit called Franchise Direct has released its ranking of the top franchises in Europe. Sacre bleu! Twelve of the first 25 are fast-food outlets or convenience stores, with McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, KFC, Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts all, er, muscling in on the Euro market.
On the rocks. Illinoisans looking to numb their woes can pull up HowsTheBar.com on their cellphones and check the action at 15,000 watering holes in the state. The site was started in November 2007, reports Business Week, by 37-year-old Randy Rantz (his real name). Rantz launched with a quarter-million dollars borrowed from friends and family. He says he’s spending $20,000 a month and has built a network of…600 members. Not exactly Facebook numbers. Is it happy hour yet?